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Transcript: Zimmer Addresses the Media on Friday

*Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer *

One more day and we're ready to travel, looking forward to the opportunity. It'll be a great challenge, great test for our football team and we need to go play good on the road. Questions?

Q: Of the 53-man roster, do you project anyone listed as out or doubtful?

A: Yeah.

Q: Who might that be?

A: I don't know, you'll get it in a minute. I don't want you tweeting it. (wink)

Q: Do you think Antone Exum Jr. will play more this week?

A: I don't know.

Q: What have you seen from him that you've liked?

A: He's a good athlete, he's a physical tackler, pretty good cover skills.

Q: Have you seen from growth from him in the last few weeks?

A: Yeah, it's still an ongoing process I think. The communication, the recognition, it's really that, it's not physical things.

Q: What's the key if Robert Blanton ends up playing against a Peyton Manning-led offense?

A: Just do what we ask him to do, pretty simple.

Q: Did he make any progress last week with his consistency?

A: Yeah, I think he was more consistent last week.

Q: How much did Jarius Wright do today in practice?

A: He was limited.

Q: So that makes you feel decent about his status?

A: I don't know, we'll see. 

Q: What are the drawbacks of having some receivers in practice limited this week if they end up playing?

A: I don't think there will be any. These guys have been running the offense for a long time, so they're smart guys, they know what to do.

Q: With those guys practicing on a limited basis, did that give Stefon Diggs more of a chance to do things in practice this week?

A: It did. 

Q: What is the benefit of that for him?

A: I think for the young guys, it's good that they start to get in the mix a little bit and not just running on the show team. They're starting to get excited about the opportunities to play. I think the other thing that happens is they understand that they've got to stay ready because you never know.

Q: When the other team signs a new tackle that might play on Sunday, how much does add to your work load or preparation plans?

A: It adds a little bit, but they kind of do what they do. The protections not going to change much with him. You get more what-ifs, a lot more what-if's, what-if they do this, whatever.

Q: Is it more just having whoever is going against that player to look at the film on him?

A: Yeah, we went and got film on all of that, but yeah, it's partly scheme and do they protect him this way or that way? It's what coaches do, what-ifs. We always what-if everything anyway.

Q: Do you think Cordarrelle Patterson is ready to step up if given the opportunity this Sunday?

A: I think he has an opportunity, yes.

Q: What have you seen from him? This is a new experience for him having to wait his turn to play.

A: I think he's been doing a good job all along. He just has to go out there and do it. There may be some opportunities for him this week, we'll see.

Q: Jeff Locke said he might go out and get a little extra work in due to the higher altitude? Do you expect to bring the whole team out early to get used to the altitude?

A: No. We don't even know if there is altitude out there. 7200 feet is where you get affected, they're at 52[00].

Q: So you have looked at the science of it?

A: We have.

Q: How important is it for the running backs to emphasize on blocking especially on third down against those defensive ends?

A: They'll have assignments, not just defensive ends. We chip every week. I think it's important we all do a good job in pass protection. They've got a lot of good rushers and they cover really good. Their corners play a lot of bump-and-run and man-to-man and so we're going to have to beat press coverage We've got to run through when they're getting their hands in the wrong places, so we've got to do a good job of that.

Q: Do you see Matt Asiata getting a few more snaps since he's a solid pass protector?

A: Every situation in the game is different. Adrian [Peterson] is our guy, so we're going to continue to keep riding him.

Q: What makes Denver so good on third downs on defense?

A: Pressure and coverage. They're good. They're not a huge blitz team but they cover you. I think their corners do a good job, [Aqib] Talib is playing good, [Chris] Harris [Jr.] is good, they do a good job in there and they play tight and physical with the receivers and they can rush –they rush four, they rush five. There are times when they stay with their base defense and just take a safety out and put a corner in and play with three corners in their base defense, so they rush five guys and play a lot of man-to-man.

Q: Would you rather have the bye week later in the season?

A: I don't know. It doesn't matter what I would rather have anyway. We started a week earlier than everybody else, I don't know, I just do what I'm told.

Q: Could that be helpful having the bye this early with some guys banged up?

A: I wouldn't say we're too banged up. I guess maybe for [John] Sullivan and some of those guys, maybe.

Q: What was it like to coach a young DeMarcus Ware?

A: Good, it was fun. He's a great kid, talented athletically, really, really good person. He came from being a defensive end at Troy to learning how to be an outside linebacker in the NFL. He had some things he hadn't learned, but you can do anything you wanted with him. He could play man-to-man on pretty much anybody you wanted with him and he could rush and great cover skills. He was good. It was fun, I liked him. 

Q: Is he similar to Anthony Barr in any way?

A: They're both good athletes, but they're a little bit different in some of the things. 

Q: With Matt Kalil, has it mainly been that he has been healthy and that has led to improved play or are there other things?

A: I think there's other things too. I think he's been much better with his technique. Obviously he feels better physically. I think he's playing with more confidence, I think he's been good in protection, and I think he's finishing runs better than he has. I think he's doing everything a lot better. It's a credit to Matt really, [Offensive Line Coach] Jeff Davidson.

Q: What are some of the things the offense can do to neutralize good edge rushers?

A: You make them play the run if they can. That always helps. We can always chip them. In the running game, we can bring guys from the outside. We've done that a lot, come down, get the tight end outside and crack them as they're rushing. There's a lot of things. Or Charles Haley, he used to get that all the time.

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